The Sandman

Topics: Alter ego, E. T. A. Hoffmann, Short story Pages: 3 (1102 words) Published: April 23, 2013
E.T.A. Hoffmann's "The Sandman" illuminates Freud's theory of the Uncanny. Freud’s understanding of Nathaniel in E.T.A. Hoffmann’s “The Sandman” is that the Nathaniel’s “madman” like actions are the result of the return of his suppressed juvenile material. Nathaniel is the protagonist and is convinced that a frightful destiny awaits him. His fear focuses on a threatening old man whom he has understood since infantile to be the “Sandman”, a monster who takes away the eyes of children who are awake at night. He connects the “sandman” with Coppelius, a colleague of his father and he incriminates Coppelius in his father's death. As an adult, Nathaniel madness is triggered after having a visitor from what he believes to be the “sandman” whom in reality is a salesman named Coppola. Freud uses E.T.A Hoffmans “The Sandman” to describe the idea of repression of childhood complexes.

E.T.A. Hoffmann's "The Sandman" is believed to be “uncanny” by Freud. Nathaniel believes in the evil “sand-man” from his childhood. He is not completely mature and has trouble growing up throughout the story. His fiancée Clara tries to help and tell not to let his stories get to him but it only maddens him. Nathaniel wants people to feed into his stories but his stories drive him to be a mad man. He is sent away to recuperate at an asylum. He meets a man named Coppola who he believes to be the evil Coppelius/ sandman. Nathaniel ends up realizing that he is just a man who sells glasses and buys a pair off of him. While he is away he falls “in love” with an inanimate object named Olimpia and forgets about his fiancée Clara. “ But then he had never had such a perfect listener.” He loves the way Olimpia just sit there and listens to his stories, he falls for her womanly shaped figure. “ Her beautifully molded features and her shapely figure compelled general admirations.” Nathaniel ends up destroying Olimipa, which can serve as one of his alter egos, his narcissistic side. He remembers about...
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